Where to Look When You Are Seeking a Safe Place

Taken on October 20, 2017, Miss Benita is smiling as always. She loved being with her sisters and being in the mountains.

Where to Look When You Are Seeking a Safe Place

14.1 My Story

I remember Sunday, December 3, 2017, well. Miss Benita had not been feeling well for the previous two months.

It had started in early October when she worked a week of nights doing a stock reset. She worked retail for the big box store headquartered in Arkansas. I recall her commenting that she usually didn’t occasionally mind working nights. 

This time was different. My wife lacked her usual energy. It was a real struggle for her.

We spoke after her first night of work. With genuine concern, she said the bosses were messing up. Specifically, she mentioned they had printed signs that had left off the last two or three letters of words. 

She wasn’t happy with my one-word response of “really.”

She said that when she mentioned it to the manager on duty, he acted as if she was crazy. Even as she insisted something was wrong with the sign, the manager on duty said the signage was okay and ignored her comments. She was told to keep working.

A week later she flew to Denver, Colorado for a week of rest with her two sisters. They met at her older sister’s home in the metropolitan Denver area.

Her younger sister flew in from Tennessee to join in the reunion. Miss Benita had made it clear my presence was not needed or wanted for this week. The time in Colorado was to be a special week for her with her sisters.

While in Colorado, my wife got sick. It was her normal nausea, vomiting, and something new, a headache. She went to see a doctor.

The physician told her to take to her nausea medicine and let her doctor know about this spell when she returned home.

Once home, the symptoms lessened. Miss Benita did not see her doctor or call the oncologist. She had a PET scan scheduled in a few days with a follow-up visit to the oncologist so she would let the doctor know at that time.

She saw the oncologist at the scheduled appointment in early November. The PET Scan was just a full body scan. They did not scan her head.

The body scan did not show any Melanoma Cancer. It only showed the other cancer she had (yes, she had two different types of cancer), the neuroendocrine carcinoid. It had not changed. She mentioned to the doctor the nausea spell on her recent trip to Colorado.

The oncologist commented that while flying and high elevation caused issues in persons with brain tumors, her last brain scans six months earlier had not shown any cancer in her head or body. He mentioned if she didn’t have the neuroendocrine carcinoid which had been a cause of her tummy distress for years, he would think the Melanoma Cancer had spread to the brain.

He decided to schedule a brain scan. After the paperwork’s processing, the insurance company’s initial denial, resubmission of the forms, and final approval it was planned for the week after Christmas.

By the Friday after Thanksgiving, Miss Benita was having severe nausea issues. With her doctor’s office closed for the holiday, she went to an urgent care facility seeking relief. She passionately declined me taking her to the hospital’s emergency room fearing they would hospitalize her. 

The urgent care facility encouraged her to see her primary care doctor on Monday and to call her oncologist to update him.

Miss Benita felt better on Monday. She decided against going to her primary care doctor. “I can’t run to her every time I hurt, or I would need to move in her office,” she said.

She was feeling better when at home by keeping the lights turned off, and the windows closed with blackout curtains. Any television or music had to have the volume turned low.

At this time she also mentioned to me that my latest book “Thy Will Be Done: 60 Prayers for the Chronically Ill” wasn’t edited very good. She says some sentences aren’t complete. It just seems like words are missing, especially at the end of some sentences.

Her words had me remembering her comments on her store signage from early October.

I double checked, and the book’s editing was excellent. Miss Benita became frustrated when I showed her nothing was wrong with the editing. 

If I moved the page, the missing words would magically appear for her to read.

I asked if she was having vision problems. She again mentioned the signage at work from back in early October with letters and words missing.

I suggested we tell this to the managing oncologist and schedule an eye exam. We called and left a message with the oncologist answering service. I also scheduled an eye exam for her later in December.

A few days later, on Sunday, December 3, 2018, we attended Sunday morning worship and Bible study. Miss Benita commented that in spite of the loud music, the church is the one place she feels perfectly calm. She added that her upset stomach vanishes when in worship services at church. A remarkable peace seems to wrap its arms around her. She feels normal, well, and her heavenly hope engulfs her.

On the afternoon of Thursday, December 7, 2017, Benita called me from the doctor’s office parking lot. She had driven herself there from her day job. Now I was needed me to help to get her from the car to the doctor’s office. She added it had taken her at least ten minutes to get the cell phone to work right where she can call me for help. She was rattled and confused.

I was scared and worried. All my scenes and intuition were screaming; this was bad. I dashed to the parking lot, which was just a mile from my house. 

She saw the doctor. The physician immediately sends her for an emergency CT Scan of the head. The physician whispers to me that she is sure Benita has a brain tumor. She says she will have the scan expedited. She is convinced this is very bad.

The CT Scan confirms a large brain tumor.

Miss Benita and I pray. The CT Scan people have us in a conference room where we have a speakerphone that allows the primary care physician to explain the results. The lady at the CT Scan facility is crying the entire time. The doctor tells the scan showed a brain tumor and we need a category one certified brain trauma facility ASAP. Immediate surgical intervention is required if she is to have a chance of survival.

We go immediately to Presbyterian Hospital in Plano, Texas. It is a certified brain trauma facility.

The surgical neurologist removed a malignant Melanoma Cancer tumor. 

The managing oncologist tells me if we had known of the brain tumor Miss Benita shouldn’t have flown in October and certainly should not have gone to high elevation in the Rocky Mountains.

The size of her tumor leads him to believe she had it in October, and being at elevation caused her sick spell that month while in Colorado. He said in getting records from her primary care doctor helped him get the total picture. Miss Benita had mentioned vision issues, just the primary care, not the oncologist. 

The oncologist said her flying and going to very high elevation probably caused brain swelling. Being at higher altitude caused her being sick in Colorado. The brain swelling reduced when she was back home at a lower height of 595 feet, and she felt better.

Well, I could go on and on with what ifs. What ifs lead to regrets. Regrets can lead to despair and depression. I felt and still feel I let my wife down by not talking to the doctors and making sure they had the total picture.

Please, don’t go down regret row. You won’t enjoy the journey or the destination.

The bottom line is as my spouse’s illness worsened it seemed that the only time she was in a state of nirvana was when she was in church, listening to Christin music, or reading or having Scripture read to her. I’m not saying what will work for you or your loved one. I am testifying to the Lord being Miss Benita’s stronghold and her place of peace and comfort.

Her experience also shows how difficult diagnosing and treating a disease can be.

14.2 We Need a Safe Place

Part of caring for a person with a chronic illness realizes that sometimes we need a safe place. We need a place of refuge. A Christian has such a safe place of refuge in God. 

The same God who was powerful enough to create the heavens and the Earth and who could destroy the world with the flood in Noah’s day is compassionate, kind, and charitable. He is an unquestionable harbor of protection to those who worship and serve him. He is good. Because of his goodness, the Believer is never ignored or deserted by him. God accepts, keeps, and preserves the Believers of Jesus Christ.

14.3 Bible Verse

Nahum 1:7 (KJV), “The Lord is good, a stronghold in the day of trouble; and he knoweth them that trust in him.”

14.4 What the Verse Means

But though God is steadfast in his power, yet He is merciful, gracious, and benevolent. God is a sure refuge and protection to those who know Him as their Savior, worship Him, serve Him, and put their trust in Him. He knows and pays regard to all such so that they are never overlooked or neglected by Him. As such, God approves, owns, and preserves us.

14.5 Pray Using Scripture

  • Heavenly Father I praise You for Your goodness.
  • Thank You for being my stronghold in the day of trouble.
  • Thank You for never neglecting me.
  • Thank You for Your provision.

14.6 Responding to God’s Hope

  1. Are you going to the Lord God in your day of trouble and every day? 
  2. Remember to read God’s word regularly. There is comfort in God’s word. What book of the Bible or passage are you currently reading? 
  3. Are you treasuring the days you have with your loved one? How? Enjoy the day, whether good or bad, it is the only one you have. Enjoy the day. Enjoy your loved one. 

14.7 Takeaway

God is an unquestionable harbor of protection to those who worship and serve him.

If you are not a Christian, accepting Jesus Christ as your Savior is a prerequisite to obtaining God’s peace.
Click HERE to find out how to become a Christian. You can trust Jesus Christ and become a Christian now.

Photo Source: Taken by family on October 20, 2017.

This blog is from the forthcoming book, “Caregiving: Biblical Insights from a Caregiver’s Journey by Jimmie Aaron Kepler, Ed.D.

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5 thoughts on “Where to Look When You Are Seeking a Safe Place

  1. Jimmy, my wife suffered from breast cancer. They told us in December 2012 her body was cancer free. We rejoiced and thanked the Lord. January 2013 she started the nausea and vomiting. She was diagnosed with cancer in the brain. Through it all her faith never flinched. Thanks for sharing

  2. What an expression of faith, Jimmie! God is indeed our stronghold! I admire you greatly for your walk with God during these difficult months.

    Praying Scripture has been a lifesaver for me. I often put in the name of the person I’m praying for, or even my own name. It brings God’s mercy and grace to life for me.

    Thank you for sharing your journey. You bless us all.

  3. I’m so sorry you and your wife went through this suffering. Our faith in God is what keeps us strong and you show how you haven’t let troubled times make your faith waver.

    1. You shared some real wisdom, “Our faith in God is what keeps us strong …” Only by God’s grace did we survive the journey. I was amazed at the strength of my late wife’s faith in the Lord. She never asked why. She only acknowledged that God knew what was best for her and trusted Him.

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